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On desktops, Intel Ivy Bridge and newer and everything AMD since June 2015. On mobile, most mobile SoCs include security stuff, Qualcomm seems to have had them since at least the Snapdragon 805. See here for the addition of the RNG to the linux kernel in 2013: Even common embedded SoCs like those used in the ESP8266 include hardware RNGs. Really, there's no excuse for not using it as at least one factor. If you're concerned about possible backdoors, xor it with your own CSPRNG in software like the Linux kernel does.
Having KARL on other OS platforms would greatly improve the security of both Windows and Linux users. This is surely true, but at least on Windows the central security holes do not lie in Windows itself (these kinds of holes exist - but exploits are very expensive, which shows that they are typically rare and not easy to exploit), but in third-party applications. For example the current 2017 version of the Petya ransomware was spreaded via a security hole in the software update mechanism in the Ukrainian tax preparation software M.E.Doc.
Other well-known attack vectors that are commonly used to attack Windows PCs are Flash Player and the Java browser plugin. Oh, that is fair. Kernel security is indeed largely inconsequential in the real world. My initial read of that has it sounding like saying Windows (kernel) doesn't have exploitable vulnerabilities, third party software does.
I still disagree, but less strongly:) Flash has always been a weak point, and Java was (but has not really been hit for a few years). But not only have there been exploits hitting MSIE/Edge/Office, they deserve much of the fault for the poor security architecture that facilitates exploitation of plugins in my opinion. Like untrusted fonts in the kernel, they seem to agree in so far as Edge no longer supports ActiveX at all. The number of exploits overall has gone way down, but there are still a ton of security patches rated as Critical RCE coming out monthly in all the usual Windows targets. And now that Tavis shone some light on their AV engine, it has been revealed that is a gaping hole both in design as well as in implementation.
Regardless, there are far more practical realities that make Windows a security liability. If you survey 100 random penetration testers, you might find one that uses RCE exploits regularly (before shadowbrokers gave everyone new toys anyway). The playbook for everybody else largely consists of spear phishing to get a 'beachhead' and then moving laterally with Pass-the-hash and similar things that are technically possible to defend if you read the documentation and set the right group policies, but that nobody in the real world does.
Mark Russinovich, before Microsoft hired him, once demonstrated that moving the GDI into the kernel wasn't necessary for performance. Windows NT was a nice, clean system from Dave Cutler, but wouldn't run a lot of code that ran under Windows 95. Especially 16-bit programs, which ran in a compatibility box under NT which was not tolerant of 16-bit programs doing things they were not supposed to be doing. XP put a lot of marginal Windows 95 code in the NT kernel and supported bad 16-bit programs. It took a decade for Microsoft to dig out from that mess. I haven't noticed any boot time checksum verification on Linux or OpenBSD in the past 15 years. If it's there, I've missed it.
But it doesn't seem like this change introduces a new problem. Secure boot springs to mind, but that's something you probably have to disable anyway to run OpenBSD. Think about this angle: if you're concerned about infosec, and there is a malicious actor with the capability to replace your kernel (which you don't do unless you're root), you do have a real problem. Even if the kernel were verified at boot time, that same actor should have countless other attack vectors.
But it's something worth considering if a tursted chain from machine firmware all the way to the application level is established. It's not there yet. What is the solution when you need to upgrade some kernel or program and the new version has a different cheksum? I don't see why that same solution, whatever it is, wouldn't work in the relinking case.
That's exactly it, more or less. KASLR is almost always useless in practice because there are so many ways to leak kernel pointers that most seasoned researchers are convinced that this will never be plugged. Even if they are, it's often the case that the same bug you are exploiting can also be used to leak enough information. Here is a long anti-ASLR rant by the folks who invented the ASLR mitigation in the first place, explaining why attempts to repurpose the idea for kernel attacks are misguided: I agree that it is probably not a meaningful improvement.
KASLR just requires ONE leaked pointer to calculate base offset of the kernel, and from there is the standard ROPchain technique. The kernel is still one big identical blog, just mapped at a different starting address. If i understand KARL correctly, they reorder the internal code (and data?) in the kernel. Therefore a single pointer-leak does not expose all the ROP gadgets anymore. More information leak is necessary, or a smaller amount of gadgets. Therefore imho this is a much better protection than KASLR.
Suppose I use program foo as part of some enterprise application on a server. I am inadvertently relying on undocumented or undefined behavior of foo. An update to foo changes what happens in that undocumented or undefined case, and with the new behavior my application does not start correctly. There is nothing the package manager can do to ensure that this does not happen because there is nothing wrong with anything the package manager is managing. The bug is entirely in my code. All the update did was expose it.
The question them is when will that now exposed bug actually get hit, so that I become aware of it and fix it. The purpose of the reboot is to make sure that exposure happens at a time when it will not cause much harm and I will not have a lot of trouble finding it. The purpose is to defeat a generic exploit. For example, with ASLR, it's easy to retrieve the current layout of the processus and therefore to debug it (if you have the appropriate symbols) despite the randomization. But an exploit has to be built for the specific instance of the application running. If you share the same privileges as the process, you can get the current mapping but an exploit is useless.
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If you don't, you don't have access to the mapping either and it's difficult to get it while you are executing code inside the process as you can't easily access the functions you would need for that.